What can we do?
The National Museum of Computing is a museum of ‘computing’ not just ‘computers’.
So, you can see lots of computers, but there are plenty of opportunities to learn about software, what each computer was originally used for, and the people involved in its development and use.
Explore our website to find out more about the exhibits on display.
We offer three different visits for schools; our full day of activities 'Computing History: A hands-on introduction' is the most popular. Alternatively we can offer afternoon taster visits, the longer 'Colossus and the beginnings of computing', or a shorter Tunny and Colossus tour.
Computing History: A hands-on introduction:
We want you and your students to get the most from the duration of your visit and will try to accommodate the focus of your visit, subject to the availability of resources and volunteer staff.
All groups attend a short presentation on arrival which will include an introduction to the Museum with object handling and a cipher activity.
The group will visit The Tunny and Colossus galleries to better understand the reason for building one of the world's first computers, including seeing the 1944 Colossus Mk II working rebuild. The group will visit the First Generation Gallery and see the working WITCH computer and the EDSAC reconstruction. They will also visit the Large Systems Room and the PC Gallery, where they will have time to play on our vintage games. Groups will be offered a choice of themes in each gallery to tailor their visit more closely to their current topics.
Students will then have the chance to take part in two workshops; the first programming the game Snake on BBC Micros and then hacking it, the second creating their own version of Siri based on the Turing Test.
A short break (typically 30mins) is provided for lunch.
Tours and activities are accompanied by our Museum Learning Guides, who facilitate the sessions.
We encourage groups to prepare for their visit and have a focus for their exploration. If you wish to provide your group with tasks to perform at each exhibit or to address them yourself, we are happy to accommodate you. Please let us know of your arrangements so we can adjust times accordingly.
Sessions last for 4 hours. Groups arrive at 10, 10.30, or 11am, departing at 2, 2.30, or 3pm respectively. We are happy to accommodate for some variation in these times given sufficient notice.
NEW FOR 2018 - we can offer an additional self-guided visit to the new Bombe gallery. This is in addition to your full learning visit, so will add 30 minutes to the time you are in the museum. The visit is self-guided, although if the Bombe engineers are available they may be able to answer questions. At the moment this is only available for groups of 30 or fewer. Please specify if you would like to add this to your booking. The cost is an additional £1/student.
Afternoon visits to The National Museum of Computing
Do you want to take your students for a taster visit to TNMOC in afternoon, perhaps after a visit to the Bletchley Park Trust? We have some spaces after 3pm, after our other school visits.
The National Museum of Computing runs a very successful learning programmes for schools and other academic groups. We often receive requests for late afternoon visits, especially from groups who have just visited the Bletchley Park Trust.
Our taster visits are not a substitute for a full learning visit, but they do allow students to see some startling historic exhibits like the rebuild of the code-breaking Colossus computer, the world’s first electronic computer, and BBC micros that launched a generation of programmers in the 1980s.
There are two main options:
- On a Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, we can offer a tour of the Tunny and Colossus galleries. This continues the Second World War story from Bletchley Park Trust, and Colossus is the world’s first electronic computer. This costs £3 per person and takes approximately 30 minutes.
- On a Monday and Thursday, we can offer Colossus and the beginnings of computing visit. This consists of a tour of the Tunny and Colossus galleries, plus the WITCH (the world’s oldest original working computing) and one workshop. There is a choice of workshops; either programming and hacking the game Snake on 1980s BBC Micros, or creating your own version of Siri based on the Turing Test. The cost for this option is £8 per person and lasts approximately 90 minutes
To enquire about any of these visits please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Access to the Museum’s library and archive is restricted to students aged 18 or over and is by prior arrangement.